Chinese Crispy Beef with Noodles

Chinese Crispy Beef with Noodles

This recipe was requested by friend Gemma in order that she could forego the expense of the Chinese takeaway. Naturally, I wanted to provide for this wee Scottish lass, but the idea also tickled my frugal weak-spot since one of my pet hates is perpetual takeaway eating – as Gemma’s request suggests, it isn’t particularly cost effective. Oh and your waistline may well benefit too!

To tell you the truth, so infrequently do I go to the Chinese takeaway that I had no idea what crispy beef was. Luckily, it turns out that it didn’t necessarily have to be a gross, oily and overly salty effigy attempting to depict Chinese food. Instead, what emerged from my wok were perfectly crispy pieces of delicious, tender beef coated with an extremely light batter.

This made for a pleasingly satisfactory dinner and went perfectly with my cold, raw vegetable  and noodle salad. The salad was very simple, so I shan’t take up valuable space with a list of ingredients – it contained a little soy sauce along with lime juice, a bell pepper and some finely chopped spring onions.

In a way this little task, which I was very politely set, underlines the fact that I’m here, in part, to provide you with a service. My goal is to impart advice and recipes which allow people to save money. Therefore, if you have any suggestions or requests at all don’t hesitate to write a comment, send me an e-mail or contact me via Facebook. You never know, your idea may well get featured here! For now, however, please enjoy this oriental treat.

For other Chinese takeaway recipes you can make at home, check out my recipes for Chicken Chow Mein, Spring Rolls and Singapore Fried Rice…

Chinese Crispy Beef

Serves 2-4


• 150g frying steak, thinly cut

• 2 eggs

• 2 tbsp cornflour

• Salt

• 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

• 1 tbsp soy sauce

• 1 carrot, thinly sliced

• 2 spring onions, thinly sliced

• A handful of beansprouts

• 300ml sunflower or vegetable oil


1. Beat together the egg, cornflour and salt and coat each piece of beef in the resultant batter. Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the beef 6-10 pieces at a time. Each piece is ready when it’s crispy and brown – this should take 5-7 minutes. Set the beef aside.

2. Remove all but 1tbsp of oil from the wok. Add in the vegetables along with the sweet chilli sauce and the soy sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a high heat before adding the beef. Heat through and serve immediately alongside your noodles.

Cost: Frying steak, when cooked properly, can be exceedingly tender, yet it only costs £1/100g. As such, this entire meal is extremely frugal and should set one back, noodles included, a mere £2.80. I think you’ll agree; that’s much cheaper than any takeaway you might have planned.

115 comments on “Chinese Crispy Beef with Noodles

  1. baconbiscuit212
    September 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Looks great, Nick! However . . . a fork? Methinks you need some chopsticks!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks, Daisy! I do need some.. but I’d never use them, they are anachronistic… to be fair, forks are easier!

      • baconbiscuit212
        September 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        I think 1.8 billion+ people in that place called Asia would dispute your claim that chopsticks are anachronistic!

        • frugalfeeding
          September 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

          Haha, I’ve been looking forward to responding to this! I’m sure they would, but it’s their tradition and their culture – tradition tends to be anachronistic… it’s still anachronistic. I’ve no… beef… with chopsticks – I’d just rather use a fork. I would have put some in the photograph had I had a chance to pick them up.

          • baconbiscuit212
            September 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

            Oh, Frugal. chopsticks are no more “traditional” than forks — which have their origins in the RENAISSANCE.

            But I understand completely: It’s okay to admit that you just don’t know how to use chopsticks 😉

            We still love you 😉

          • frugalfeeding
            September 26, 2012 at 11:52 pm

            Chopsticks are traditional to a certain area… Whichever way you look at it. The modern fork may have been borne of the renaissance, but they aren’t anachronistic since they are pretty much the most efficient and easy way of eating food, at least in their modern form. Forks are simply functional, chopsticks have been part of East Asian cuisine for around 3,000 years. I also find the waste caused by the chopstick industry to be quite disgusting – the figures are actually incredible. Everyone has their own opinions I suppose. I’m not against chopsticks as an idea… That would be silly…

            I can’t use chopsticks, you’re right. It doesn’t really matter. Chopsticks are slowly being replaced by forks etc… Though I think that’s a terrible thing, since they are an integral part of the way Eastern Asia has been for thousands of years. Historians don’t like change… 😀

          • baconbiscuit212
            September 26, 2012 at 11:54 pm

            Haha! Okay. Truce!

          • frugalfeeding
            September 26, 2012 at 11:56 pm

            I love a good argument. Haha. Incidentally, forks were used by the Romans and Greeks and were adopted in Europe during the 18th century and North America in the 19th. But yes, truce! Hope you’re well!

          • baconbiscuit212
            September 27, 2012 at 12:04 am

            Oh, the anachronisms 😉

            Interesting about the Romans and Greeks too. Funny, all this ancient talk about forks makes me think of the Roman habit of using sticks with sponges tied to the ends for . . . well . . . I guess it’s not very appropriate to talk about here . . . 😉

          • frugalfeeding
            September 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

            Gross… How about their feasts which included displays of public eating disorders…

          • baconbiscuit212
            September 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

            So gross! The Romans were so weird. Innovative, but weird!

          • baconbiscuit212
            September 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

            I hope you are well too!

  2. ohmygoodygoodness
    September 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    This looks fantastic! I am adding it to my grocery list for tonight’s dinner! I am so glad your on Facebook too, I just like the page!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I need some more Facebook support 😀

      • ohmygoodygoodness
        September 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

        I posted your site on my wall on there and shared the link to this recipe. I tried this the other night, with a few tweaks for what I had on hand, and it was AMAZING! In fact, it’s a new family favorite! Thanks for sharing it!

        • frugalfeeding
          September 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm

          Yes, I saw! Fantastic. I’m so glad you liked it so much.

  3. emily
    September 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I absolutely love this. But then again, I am a sucker for anything that remotely involves Asian cuisine, fried food or noodles. Lo and behold, this dish may just be the holy trinity! Now, if only I weren’t so resistant to deep frying at home…

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks, Emily! I’m sure you’d love it. I always try and get around deep frying, but there’s no other way with this recipe I’m afraid!

  4. trialsinfood
    September 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    looks and sounds delicious! where do you find the time to make all these yummy things!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      Thanks! I don’t know really… I don’t have a job at the moment… just quit 😀

  5. arzea
    September 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    This looks just like the food I would get from my favorite chinese place in Berkeley before I turned vegetarian. Drool!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Fantastic! Oh no, you don’t want to be veggie (I’m joking of course, I make LOADS of vegetarian food)

  6. cookinginsens
    September 18, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Nicely done, Frugal. I’m with Daisy; chopsticks.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      I would have put some in if I had any… they are a bit of a relic though… forks are easier 😀

  7. Juls
    September 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Beautifully crispy, delectable looking… but my partner would murder you for lack of chopsticks (he’s still forcing me to use ‘training chopsticks’ even though I insist it’s not necessary).
    I always enjoy bloggers’ posts concerning the ‘homemade takeaway’. I rarely eat take-out anymore and it’s good to see that people out there are creating comforting and economically pleasing alternatives!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks, Juls! I would have put some in if I had any… I, for one, don;t see the point of them… they are a little anachronistic… Don’t I do that all the time, Juls? 😀

  8. Hello in Chinese
    September 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Love the preparation pictures! I’m sure it was delicious!

  9. lifelibertyeducation
    September 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    This one (like most) will be saved. It is my favorite Chinese takeaway meal. Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      Hah – and have you made any? No problem!

      • lifelibertyeducation
        October 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

        I am a lazy cook. I think I made one recipe. I know I have at least taken inspiration from a few of your recipes. Just because I don’t use a recipe soon after finding it doesn’t mean I will not use it though…..I just posted a caramel shortbread recipe that I have been saving for a while. I made those on the same night I finally made a pumpkin and chili soup recipe that I collected about five years ago from an Asda magazine. I will get around to my crispy beef soon enough.

        • frugalfeeding
          October 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

          Hehe – very good. I come back to inspiration too. Inspiration isn’t something you can put a time limit on.

  10. twentysomethingadvertures
    September 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you so much Nick! This is perfect and we’re really excited to try it. You star!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks, Gemma! I hope you like it! I wouldn’t want to let you down. Feel free to FB or e-mail me if you want anything else! You could even text me requests if you like 😀 (not sure if you have my number any more…)

  11. cindyknoke
    September 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    This looks delicious! I’m going to make it.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      please do! Be sure to let me know what you think!

  12. littleleopardbook
    September 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    This looks so delicious and simple, can’t wait to try it!

  13. Conor Bofin
    September 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Saving money and raising the bar. I approve.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      Haha – I feel ratified – Thanks, Conor!

  14. Karen
    September 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Wonderful photo and recipe Frugal. One of my favorite dishes…I like to twice fry mine for extra crispness.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks, Karen! That’s not a bad idea – I don’t think I could be bothered 😀

  15. Karista
    September 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    We rarely eat out or get takeaway, maybe our fave pizza once in a blue moon. I can’t stand the tasteless, oily chinese takeaway and would rather eat tree bark. Your re-creation of one of my fave chinese dishes is fantastic! I am definitely making this Frugal. My family will love it! I’m pinning and posting on my FB page too. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Exactly – Chinese can be really greasy! Thanks, Karista! I hope you like it 🙂

  16. Our Growing Paynes
    September 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    This is perfect. We had a bit of takeaway with the noodles the other night and talked about finding recipes to go with them. I will be trying this at some point!

  17. allyoudoiseat
    September 19, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Mmm this looks so tasty! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely have to give it a try!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks – yes, you should it truly was yummy!

  18. lapetitebaker
    September 19, 2012 at 2:11 am

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it for dinner one of these nights.

  19. egg me on
    September 19, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Forget takeout! This is awesome. Love the crispy beef, and this seems like a healthier version. Great stuff.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      Haha – yes, Chinese takeaway is a little greasy.

  20. TimeForTeaRoomForCake
    September 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    This looks particularly delicious!!! I will have to try this out!!!

  21. Villy
    September 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I would love to cook something oriental once! This dish looks delicious!!

  22. Sasha
    September 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    This looks great. I would totally sneak in some more vegetables in with that beef, like string beans or snow peas.

  23. Andrea
    September 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Yum! Look delicious! Homemade chinese, although I have tried many a time, is not my forte… I think maybe I feel like a white girl frying up chinese food is just too inauthentic, and the thought colors my perception of the dish!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks! It’s not my forte either… haha, you can’t think like that!

  24. lmicheles
    September 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    What’s the noodle side dish? Vegetarian?

    • Somer
      September 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      That’s the recipe I want too! Though that is the first meat dish I’ve seen in a long time that actually looked really good, leave it to frugal to make the vegheads drool!

      • frugalfeeding
        September 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

        Hehe – I am sorry… it must be torture 😀

        • Somer
          September 20, 2012 at 10:33 pm

          It’s okay, you post enough delicious veg recipes to keep me coming back for more 🙂

          • frugalfeeding
            September 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm

            I have a delicious one coming very soon 😀

          • Somer
            September 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm

            ….You always do! 🙂

          • frugalfeeding
            September 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

            Hehe – thanks 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Umm…. yes – the ingredients are in the writing.

  25. annesturetucker
    September 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Perfect creation – thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks! No problem, it was wonderful 🙂

  26. Keep Calm and Eat On
    September 20, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Love it! Simply!

  27. myhealthyohana
    September 20, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I love crispy beef, your version looks absolutely delicious! I agree, it’s nice when you can recreate takeaway dishes at home, so much healthier and less expensive.

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      Thanks! It was lovely. Exactly – healthier especially – not at all greasy.

  28. whilehewasout
    September 20, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I love love Chinese food, but not a fan of takeaway…if not only because of the price but the questionable hygiene etc… Looks greatand sounds pretty easy! Hope Gemma was satisfied 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      September 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Me too! I don’t think she’s made it yet! I can’t bring myself to do takeaway any more.

  29. Chica Andaluza
    September 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I always order this but now I can make it at home – love it!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Absolutely :D. I think I’ll have to do some more takeaway recipes.

  30. There for a reason's Rachel
    September 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Now come over and make dinner for me 🙂

  31. thelittleloaf
    September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    ooh yum, how did I miss this? Love crispy beef!

  32. Sanjukta Moorthy
    September 24, 2012 at 11:16 am

    YUM! Crispy beef is one of my boyfriend’s favourite dishes, we used to get it from a Vietnamese place in Wood Green, N London – but now I’ve seen this, it looks so easy to make at home! Where do you get the steak from? Does it have to be a butcher’s or will a shop brand do?

    • frugalfeeding
      September 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      It is so nice :). You should try it. I just got the steak from my local supermarket, it was locally sourced Welsh beef though. I’d probably say butchers, depending on the quality of your supermarket’s beef.

      • Sanjukta Moorthy
        September 28, 2012 at 7:40 am

        YUM! Thanks for the tip, looks like I’ll have to go for the Waitrose ‘Fed Diamonds by Earls’ category!

        I’m planning to make it this weekend, wish me luck!

        • frugalfeeding
          October 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm

          No problem! Haha, perhaps not that far… go to a butchers! I hope you liked it.

  33. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    September 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Wowzer!! I didn’t think this could be done?! I’ve always longed for a recipe to duplicate this dish and now I can’t wait to give it a go! Thanks!!!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Oh, I can do anything :D. This is lovely 🙂

  34. Margaret
    September 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    is cornflour the same thing as cornmeal? or is that cornstarch? I’m in the US, and I suspect we have different names for certain ingredients


  35. PolaM
    September 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Love this beef! I want to try it!!

    • frugalfeeding
      September 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Oh you should – it’s so quick and simple.

  36. deliciouscravings
    September 26, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Reblogged this on deliciouscravings.

  37. charlieedmunds
    November 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’m going to make this later this week – but with fried rice instead of noodles I think.

  38. mmluvs2ift
    December 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I really want to make this. Could you please tell me what a frying steak is? Is it flank steak, skirt steak or none the above. I’m also in the USA. Thank you

  39. Linda
    October 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    What kind of noodles would go best with this beef dish?

  40. Paul Withers
    October 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    We tried this last night and it was excellent. We used Welsh black rump steak reared by our local butcher, hung for three weeks. Someone in the USA asked if he could use skirt. Depends which skirt – because skirt can mean two different cuts here in the UK, one of which would be ok, and the other would not be suitable.

  41. Robin
    December 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    What temperature should the oil be for the deep fry? Also, how thin is thinly sliced?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      What a question to ask 2 years later :). The oil temperature should be just high enough to give a brisk fry – you can check it with a small amount of batter or piece of bread. I’m not one for checking the temperature of my oil! Thickness-wise a quarter of a centimetre would work well.

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